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Unsurprisingly, Reopened and Hybrid Schools are Facing Problems

August 28, 2020


In scrolling through the Education news on my phone this morning, I could have chosen any one of 10+ articles describing the complications reopened and hybrid schools are facing. I find these articles to be extremely sad for three reasons.

First and foremost, had our country made a NATIONAL decision to quarantine in place for 4-6 weeks at the outset of this outbreak, none of the debate over reopening would have been necessary. Had we made that decision at the outset, COVID levels would mirror those of other developed countries where reopening is underway with few complications and where students, like other citizens are adhering to mask wearing and social distancing protocols.

Secondly, this is sad because the complications were predictable AND impossible to address through careful planning. With so much uncertainty and so much unknown about the transmission of the disease it is not at all fair to blame administrators for a failure to plan ahead for every contingency. How could they when it was clear that the unknowns by definition were unknowable?

Third, it is sad because it shows that the parents’ and politicians’ concerns for a return to normalcy outweighed their concerns that their children could get or transmit a disease of unknown long term impact to others. The children’s well being is being sacrificed in the hopes that the transmission of the disease will not be exacerbated but with the full knowledge that it is not under control.

After reading and/or skimming several articles I chose this Chalkbeat article about the pending hybrid opening of NYC schools, which looks more and more like a train wreck. At this juncture there is no way to reverse the decision to reopen the most complicated school district in America… and because NYC took the pandemic seriously it is possible that they will not have the same level of disease spread as some other regions… but the stress induced on parents and children will be palpable and irreversible and, I believe, will offset any social gains students might get from gathering in one place with masks and social distance. And that is yet another reason to be sad.

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